The Bluefield College History Department and The Mercer County Colonial Dames will present a live performance of “Mary Draper Ingles” featuring Karen Vuranch in Harman Chapel on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
Vuranch will bring to life the dramatic story of Mary Draper Ingles from her capture to her experiences in the Shawnee Village and her long voyage back home. In 1755, when Ingles was pregnant with her third child, she was captured by Shawnee Indians from her home (what is now Radford, Virginia) and taken to a Shawnee village (what is now Portsmouth, Ohio). After living in captivity for several months, Ingles escaped and traveled nearly 800 miles back home.
The story of Ingles’ capture is not an unusual tale when it comes to the life of the women once on the Appalachian Frontier. Many women during that time were captured by Indians and even watched their family members get killed brutally. What makes Ingles’ story different from the others, is the fact her son, John, wrote her story down which was later published. Novelist, James Alexander Thom, made her story even more popular in recent years in his book “Follow the River” and the television movie starring Sheryl Lee.
Vuranch is acclaimed regionally and nationally for her performances of women in history. She has been honored by many organizations for her work. Vuranch has received the Robert C. Byrd Community Service Award, the Tamarack Artisan Fellowship for Achievement in the Arts, and the Award for Women in History from the DAR Capt. James Allen Chapter in 2016. Vuranch earned her undergraduate degree from Ashland University and her Master of Arts from Marshall University and currently teaches theatre at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia where she directs at least four plays a year.
Members of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) have protected the American heritage for 128 years. The object of the women’s society is to create a popular interest in our nation’s history; to stimulate a true patriotism and a genuine love of one’s country; and to honor the memory of our ancestors who helped establish American democracy.
“Mercer County Colonial Dames is proud to bring actor Karen Vuranch to the stage at Bluefield College to portray pioneer heroine Mary Draper Ingles,” said Becky Steorts of Mercer County Colonial Dames. “Ingles is commemorated in West Virginia with the Mary Draper Ingles Bridge, and in Virginia as one of the twelve most famous women of the state. America’s present and future are built on the bravery of these significant heroes and heroines from American history. We welcome history lovers everywhere to come to Bluefield College to enjoy the performance.”